Vast and intimate

By MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  October 2, 2008
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare | Directed by Lucy Smith Conroy | Produced by Portland Stage Company | though October 19 | 207.774.0465
Indeed, it’s a credit to the nuance and subtlety of this cast, and to Conroy’s masterful direction, that PSC’s Caesar feels like a portrait less of Brutus (often considered the play’s protagonist) than of an entire republic — from its shoemakers to its generals — in the process of self-annihilation. This production moves us to become as invested in the fate of that republic as we would in a character — a complex character, noble, flawed, infuriating, heartrending; a character whose insecurities and emotional weaknesses often hit disturbingly close to home. 

The character of our own real-life republic certainly has plenty of uncertainties to deal with at the moment, even without a financial meltdown in the works. In fact, another of Tocqueville’s timeless observations about us was that an American election year constitutes “a crisis in the affairs of the nation,” that it riles up “all the artificial passions which the imagination can create.” PSC’s sophisticated and devastating interpretation of Julius Caesar reminds us of just how crucial it is that we keep our heads.

Megan Grumbling can be reached at mgrumbling@hotmail.com.

< prev  1  |  2  | 
Related: Unkindest cuts, Et tu Brute?, Crossword: ''You're out!'', More more >
  Topics: Theater , William Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth II, Julius Caesar,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY MEGAN GRUMBLING
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   TRAUMATIC IRONY  |  October 15, 2014
    A creaky old oceanfront Victorian. Three adult siblings who don’t like each other, plus a couple of spouses. A codicil to their father’s will that requires them to spend an excruciating week together in the house. And, of course, various ghosts.
  •   OVEREXTENDED FAMILY  |  October 11, 2014
    “I’m inclined to notice the ruins in things,” ponders Alfieri (Brent Askari). He’s recalling the downfall of a longshoreman who won’t give up a misplaced, misshapen love, a story that receives a superbly harrowing production at Mad Horse, under the direction of Christopher Price.   
  •   SOMETHING'S GOTTA FALL  |  October 11, 2014
    While it hasn’t rained on the Curry family’s 1920’s-era ranch in far too long, the drought is more than literal in The Rainmaker .
  •   SURPASSED MENAGERIE  |  October 03, 2014
    Do Buggeln and Vasta make a Glass Menagerie out of Brighton Beach Memoirs? Well, not exactly.
  •   WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU FABRIC  |  October 01, 2014
    One of the risks of being raised on PBS children’s programming, apparently, is the realization that one is not as special or as destined for greatness, in the grown-up world, as Big Bird seemed to let on.

 See all articles by: MEGAN GRUMBLING